Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being
Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being takes a closer look at Canada’s mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgment. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region’s sense of place and identity.
- Short-listed, The Believer Book Award 2019
“Amy Fung’s essays raise urgent questions about the way in which Canada has positioned itself as a welcoming nation of all peoples.” —Humber Literary Review
“Touted as “a very long land acknowledgement,” Fung’s collection is relevant and needed. First, as an attempt to unpack Canada’s national myth of the multicultural state without neglecting to see multicultural immigration as a form of continuing colonialism. Second, as an effort to join Indigenous writers such as Chelsea Vowel (Métis) and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg), among others, who should not be the only voices holding the settler-colonial state to task.” —Quill & Quire
“Moving effortlessly from personal anecdote to unsettling recognition of her own complicity to disturbing insight and political statement, Fung’s testimony is essential reading.” —Hyperallergic
“In its totality, Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being functions as a challenge to white settlers and to other immigrants to really consider the land acknowledgements that are offered by our institutions and at our events.” —Winnipeg Free Press